Monday, April 18, 2011

The case against the iPad as legal practice tool.

Everyone's proclaiming the iPad is a laptop killer. For the contrarian view, check out this post from the blog "Spam Notes."  Here's an excerpt:

I'm not sure what exactly the "iPad for lawyers" crowd is smoking, but whatever it is, it's potent.

. . . .

I'm constantly surprised by the refrain from many lawyers and consultants about their wonderful time and energy saving-experiences using the iPad. You almost get the sense that the iPad has transformed their practice (and their lives).
. . . .
What's the benefit of using the iPad and jumping through all these hoops to complete tasks which would be otherwise simple on the laptop? Does the one extra minute it takes you to boot up your laptop totally undermine your work experience? Does the profile of the laptop (which interposes a screen between you and the person you are meeting with) really detract so much from a client meeting? Does the extra 0.7 pounds that the MacBook Air require you to lug around really weigh you down that much? To each his or her own, but the choice to jump through a bunch of hoops to incorporate the iPad into your practice seems forced. We all know people who try a bit too hard telling you (and in the process themselves) that everything is going great. This is the iPad lawyer, when it comes to the iPad and productivity.

There's another question that's lurking in the background, and that is, does the modern lawyer really need to work so much "on the go?" Do we really need to be listening to podcasts in the car, and reviewing documents while at Starbucks? (I understand if you actually work from Starbucks full time, but that's a separate issue.) Even if you take the view (which I do) that the old style view of the work/life balance could use some shifting, it seems like a stretch to think that lawyers need to work on the go in order to maintain a liveable work/life balance. It's one thing to work remotely, work from home, etc., and have some flexibility in terms of where you work from. But do we need to really work from 4 or 5 different locations in a given day? Do we really need to work from mobile devices? And how does this affect the quality of our work? I don't know about everyone else, but I find it harder and harder to focus these days (thanks internet!) and my work product while I'm on the go (e.g., from an airport lounge) just lacks. There's no two ways about it.

Choosing an iPad over a laptop sort of reminds me of the people who buy an SUV instead of a car.  Most people don't really need an SUV. And when they get one, they don't use it any differently than the car they gave up. 

You can read more here.

Hat tip to the Legal Blog Watch.


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